Sandra E. (Bend, OR)
A Box of Darkness
This book is a love story - not only from the standpoint of a wife/mother of a couple who were beautiful and wealthy "golden children" of the Brahmin upper classes in that sparkling segment of 1930's America, but of fierce introspection and courageous change and transcendence.
It's the story of the maternal devotion of an impeccably educated and dynamic mother who creates a necessary parallel universe for herself and her four gifted children, whose safety she guards tenaciously from their larger-than-life father, himself pursued by compulsively destructive demons.
Before words like "codependence" and "enabling" and "enmeshment" and "emotional abandonment" were part of our everyday vocabulary, Sally Ryder Brady was leading a life in which her natural and very considerable resourcefulness equipped her to survive all the above, while projecting a montage of secure and happy family life which dazzled observers.
Her brilliant and handsome husband - who appears to have been the quintessential Renaissance Man - harbored dark secrets. Sally literally uncovered them after his death.
Her time of grieving not only the loss of her charismatic husband to death - but of the "dream" which their marriage had embodied in its external glamour to others - and to Sally - portrays an intensely courageous and personal journey and metamorphosis during which Sally "comes home to herself".
This book was written and published with uncommon bravery; it has beautiful prose and dialogue which captivates from page one. I would thoroughly recommend it for book groups. A favorite book for me of the past decade.
Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI)
Surprises and more surprises
Beginning with a 'forgotten' cache of ashes it was apparent how the book would end. But the in-between was fascinating reading. How a marriage of such long-standing could survive the secrets and trials...one can only wonder. Sally Brady walks a fine line interspersing poignancy and humor. I couldn't wait to finish the book.
Hydee F. (Salt Lake City, Utah)
This book left me awash in emotions. I could not stop reading the back, and looking at the photos, trying to grasp the reality that Sally Brady was so honest and transparent in this memoir. Her account of a long and complex marriage was touching, and real, and affected me greatly. I love this book and am now searching for some of her other works.
Carolyn F. (San Carlos, CA)
A BOX OF DARKNESS
This is a beautifully written book that resonated with me on so many levels. By the end of the book I felt as if I had spent an extended period of time with a beloved friend. Brady takes us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions seems, to me, to be brutally honest.
I loved the quote from which the title of the book is taken. I would recommend this book to people who like memoirs. I think it would make for an excellent book group discussion because there are a couple of big issues to explore.
Susan F. (Rabun Gap, GA)
I found "Box of Darkness" an enthralling and compelling portrait of a marriage. Surely, and hopefully, it's writing has been a catharsis for the author and wife in the marriage, Sally Ryder Brady. I found the characters most fascinating and the book well written..read it in just a few sittings. The major looming element in this story is the fact that Upton Brady was an alcoholic. How much would have been different if he had not been. Would he have had the same homosexual tendencies? I also ached for Sally(perhaps personal association as a member of her generation)in her quest to know if Upton truly loved her. Although she certain enabled Upton in his selfish behavior, she found him far too enticing to leave. I would certainly recommend this book to my friends.
Sue J. (Wauwatosa, WI)
A Box of Darkness
Sally Ryder Brady has written a honest story of her first year after the death of her husband and the grief that enveloped her. She interweaves the past with the present and gains insight into the complicated man she was married to.The Box of Darkness was a well written, enjoyable read. Highly recommended!
Gail L. (Maitland, FL)
A Box of Darkness
Although this book was one I couldn't put down, the realities presented were so unfathomable to me that I kept reading thinking something would happen to make things better. What a roller coaster ride Mrs. Brady was on from the very beginning, from meeting Upton until his death. This was a great character study and I kept hoping the influences from Sally's mother wouldn't keep getting in the way of her taking the blame for everything Upton accused her of. I commend her for her honesty and forthrightness. What a courageous, strong, and very responsible lady to put up with everything for so many years is unbelievable. This amount of unconditional love is hard to imagine. I enjoyed reading the book, but the sadness was overwhelming at times. I felt like I was there with Sally, witnessing the things she went through.